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reaperman1

Member
Aug 7, 2022
97
Minnesota
I've been away from this site for a few years, sorry. I had to re-register because my email changed and I forgot my password, anyway. I've been toying on getting a wood stove for the upstairs of my home. I currently have a wood furnace in the basement that's tied into my forced air LP furnace ductwork. The wood furnace easily heats my home when temps get well below zero. I have never had to supplement with my LP furnace, ever. Here in Mn, the temps regularly get into the -20f. So why get another wood burning stove? Less wood, I'm still in good shape and have no issues cutting firewood on my property. But someday that may change as I'm pushing 60. I've been burning wood since '87 and never had a heat bill to speak of. Secondly, my home is very well insulated and is fairly new so its very easy to heat. In the winter I get alot of solar gain. Nobody believes me when I say the warmest days in my home are when its the coldest outside. The coldest days have a clear sky which means alot of sunshine entering. In fact, I let my wood furnace burn out at night and the house holds the heat for the entire day until sunset on sunny days.

I also have a Englander 13ncl wood stove in our commercial 20x40 dog kennel building. That stove supplements the off peak in-floor heat system on the cold nights. I bought that stove on clearance at home depot years ago for $350, the best money ever spent. I've often said, I could easily heat my 1300 sq foot home with this little 13, on a fraction of the wood. It almost makes me sick when I load up the 13 with about 3 pieces of wood at night, than go into my basement and put what seems like a wheelbarrow load into my furnace, which will be out in 5-6 hrs. There has to be a more efficient way. I realize if I put a wood stove in my upstairs, I'm not expecting to get much heat into my finished basement. To me, that doesnt factor into the equation, its just me and the Mrs and she spends no time downstairs.

Our upstairs is very open and there is really only one place to install a wood stove, its the corner in the photo below. I dont need a large firebox because it will get way too hot, but I dont want one that's too small the needs loading often either. I looking for ideas on something that could be possibly be turned down without a high heat output with a mid size firebox. I have the 13ncl to compare with, that box seems a little small but I could live with it since it would be more closely monitored than the one in our kennel is now. Perhaps a hybrid or cat stove to keep the output somewhat lower? A stove that qualifies for the tax credit would be nice also. With a corner install clearances have to be taken into consideration. In the photo below, the corner to one window is 55" and from the corner to the other window is about 52". So maybe a stove with side shields? I've been reading a lot of posts on different brand stoves and its easy to get lost in the confusion. I would also need to heat shielding for the floor and walls, plus a chimney install. There's no need to be in a huge hurry, but I'd like to get a ball rolling for possibly something this season. I'm pretty busy at work so time is limited but if I find a stove and purchase it, than I'm committed. I've been looking at Drolet, Englander, Woodstock, BK, and others. And and all ideas welcome, many thanks.

corner.jpg
 

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,616
Long Island, NY
I'll start.

I LOVE my 13, but it's not an all night / day for burn times. My biggest regret is not going for the bigger firebox in the 30.

Go for the biggest firebox you can afford, with the best (longest) burn times you can.

You won't regret it.

You can build a smaller fire in a bigger box, but not a larger fire in a small box.

Welcome back, whoever you were :p
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
99,011
South Puget Sound, WA
The main issue I see with that location is that the chimney will need to be tall outside. Heat shielding for the walls is not needed as long as the stove's clearance requirements are honored. Many modern stoves only need ember protection for the hearth.

Not sure of stove size. Does the 1300 sq ft include the basement area? What is the BTU output of the propane furnace?
 

reaperman1

Member
Aug 7, 2022
97
Minnesota
My home is 1280, upstairs plus 1280 downstairs (32x40). The LP furnace is 60k Btu's input and 56K Btu's output. The living room ceiling is vaulted in the center so the corner height is 8'. I have a 12/6 pitch roof so the chimney would be kind of tall but being in the corner its the shortest distance outside. I believe the. outside chimney needs to be 3' higher than a ten foot radius. Im guessing my wood furnace chimney is pushing 25' since its in the center of the home and sticks out 3 feet higher than the top of the highest point on the roof.

Where is a good place to get prices on wood stoves? Some brands advertise and some dont, they want info to send a quote. I was looking up Kuma brand stoves yesterday, they look attractive with 81% efficiency. We dont have many local options for wood stoves here, just Menards and Home Depot doesnt stock any, but can be ordered thru them.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,172
Iowa
See my avatar for an example that is somewhat similar in setup/appearance to your potential install. There is an unseen window just to the left of my stove in my pic. Corner install. Single story roof braced chimney.
This is the small 20 series BK Sirocco. In north IA. Brrrrr cold here as well. We get zero main floor heat into our basement from this arrangement.

Have you looked or considered the few new tech, add on furnaces? May be worth a look. Kumma Vapor-Fire and Drolet Heat Commander ring a bell. Others who are more furnace knowledgeable may chip in here. @brenndatomu perhaps?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,874
Long Island NY
Do you have an estimate for the BTU/hr you need ? Going with the 30 may cook you out of the room. It seems to me you would benefit from a stove that can turn down a lot.

There are more (begreen will tell you...), but one of them is the BK line. The 30 boxes allow you to put out ~12000 BTU/hr (if I remember correctly). And do so for more than 24 hrs (my record long burn is 36 hrs). As you know, burn time is just "how much BTUS you can load in the box divided by the burn rate". The lower you can turn down the stove (so you don't overheat), the longer the burn.
Small stoves can go lower, but then you still may need to reload every 6-8 hrs. So if you don't need much heat (But again, get an estimate for that), a large box with a large turn down seem ideal.

On the other hand, is your wood furnace efficient? Somehow it eats much more wood? I'm not sure how efficiencies compare, but if modern stoves are 75-80% efficient, what are modern furnaces? Shouldn't that result in similar wood consumption?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
99,011
South Puget Sound, WA
I believe the. outside chimney needs to be 3' higher than a ten foot radius.
That would be 2 ft higher in a 10 ft radius. Many stoves need 15' minimum chimney height for decent draft so check stove specs when planning. The exceptions are some Canadian stoves from Regency, SBI (Drolet, Osburn), & Pacific Energy, which can work with shorter 12-13' flue systems. Note that the chimney will need a roof brace at 5' above the roof exit. In heavy snow areas it is advisable to put a snow diverter (cricket) above the chimney.
The bottom slope of the roof is not ideal in some installations if it puts the chimney in a positive pressure zone. This is a tendency, but there are exceptions. Our stack is on the downslope, but drafts well, even in windy conditions, but the flue system is 20' total.
Where are the prevailing winds from in the winter relative to the proposed chimney location?

10-3-2 rule picture.JPG
A medium-sized Kuma could be a good fit here. They can work on a shorter chimney and sell through dealers in the region, but also direct I think. Give them a call.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,874
Long Island NY
I also note that the bottom of a slope gives snow issues; your chimney might need snow diverters for when a large load slides down against it. I don't know the proper name of these things, but there have been discussions on this website about these things.
If you get a lot of snow (I note Minnesota), I suggest seeing if you can move the chimney up also for this reason.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
4,276
SE North Carolina
If it were me I’d be looking at no wood solution. Sounds like you have the wood heat part covered. You are well insulated. Great solar gain.

I’m just going to throw out have you considered a heatpump? Yes it will cost electricity to run but it could cut your wood consumption. I’m not suggesting it be a replacement just supplemental heat any time the temps are warm enough to make it cost effective.

Observing my in-law age, they passed the 82 this year, They have had a wood stove to supplement for 15 years. And have used it. But now they really can’t even get wood from the the garage to the stove. If it was life or death They could get one or two pieces at a time. But it’s not a sustainable solution.

We will all get to that point where our physical limitations mean wood burning just is too much for our bodies. Proactive thoughtful planning makes that transition easier.

I vote Drolet and a heatpump. Or a BK. Availability is tight for some products now. Are you want to get it installed for this winter?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
99,011
South Puget Sound, WA
Our setup is a heat pump + woodstove as suggested. If the stove is both for comfort and emergency heat for winter power outages, then a woodstove can be nice. That's the number one reason why we have a stove. However, the # 2 reason, is we like the luxury of the deep heat from the stove. That said, knee problems are indicating that getting wood from the shed, up the porch stairs to the wood box may be a challenge this next season. If so, the heat pump will get more use and the woodstove less.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,874
Long Island NY
I'd say that precisely in the cold (-20 F regularly, according to the OP, and I note that the Mitsubishi hyper heat is designed to be good to -13F...), he needs to have a reliable heat source, in particular when older. While hyperheat exists, -20 F is pushing it. Being older and having a hard time dealing with wood, AND having an issue with lower performance at -20 F is not an ideal situation if no other heat source exists.

How long is the time between "can't do large quantities of wood anymore" and "can't do any wood at all"...?
Because that's the time a stove is useful. After that, there needs to be something else.

Given that this is a "advanced age outlook" question, I think it is relevant to consider non-wood options, unless a move after the "no wood at all" era is being considered.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,834
WI, Leroy
Hi, I am 71 still sawen , splitten, and stacken. I got a few issues ( don't we all) that sometimes get in the way. 2200 sf house single story, store wood in basement in late fall. Get my exercise going up and down stairs in winter. As I do work down there, bring wood up a few pieces at a time when ever i come up. Place is decently insulated. NC30 heats whole main floor 98 % of the time. The lay out works well for the stove which is pretty much centrally located. ( Have no idea how the latest version might work). Basement needs heat source in winter - been vacillating between wood or pellet for that ( have 7000 btu electric heater that hangs from ceiling down there now- but it gets pricey) conventional is LP furnace, I am sure it kicks in when i am gone over 12 hours. A cat stove will give you low and slow. The latest secondary units can' t get down that far and make EPA regs ( there are a couple that are both cat and secondary combined) . I had a wood furnace tied in to heat ducts previous place - it was always hungry, never got that place toasty, but it wasn't the best insulated place either. ( 1960 build -brick exterior) but at least it cut the NG bill in half. A Pellet furnace or stove might be an option - but still have to be able fill hopper and of course the cost of pellets keeps rising and the much higher maintenance. Heat pumps in our extra cold area just don't make it in our zero and below extended intervals. ( they switch over to electric heat strips $$$)
 

reaperman1

Member
Aug 7, 2022
97
Minnesota
Thanks for the replies guys. I'd like to get away from being dependent on electricity if an outage occurs. I have a home backup generator and transfer switch to plug into in case the juice goes out. My (firechief) wood furnace needs electricity to power the plenum fan without it, no heat transfer. If I go ahead with a new stove, the chimney will face west, southwest. Most of the winter wind will come from the north to northwest. I am very sheltered with trees so wind exposure is very minimal. Also, the southwest facing roof stays fairly clear of snow with the suns help. Again, its hard to believe it, but my home is very easy to heat do the very open floor plan. The kitchen/living room is one big room taking up 2/3's of the upstairs, Ninety percent of the time I let my wood furnace go out at night and I will not have to lite it again until the following evening. That means the only heat in the home is held throughout the day. And the temps are well into the 70's until the sun sets. The price to pay is waking up to 80-82 degrees every morning, and listening to the wife complain how hot the house is when shes trying to sleep. In fact, before bed, she closes our bedroom door and shuts the register and opens our bedroom sliding glass door to cool off our bedroom before bed. I cant say my wood furnace doesnt work, it does. It also gets old lighting a fire EVERY night for as many months as winter hold on for. Another thing a wood stove would be nice for, is early spring, fall when only a little heat is needed. Rather than turning on the LP furnace, a small fire would be the ticket. The wood furnace is overkill for a couple of these months. I've been burning wood for so long I feel guilty when I use LP, plus I'm a cheap _astard. I'm fortunate enough to have a endless supply of firewood on my property so I will be burning as long as I'm able. I realize in retrospect, I really dont need wood stove, but I believe it would be easier. My previous house had a regular wood stove, which I loved. Then when I built my home in 06, the wife didnt want the mess upstairs. So a furnace in the basement were the orders from above. The first couple of years I hated it, I missed the radiant heat a wood stove gives. And the only time the furnace gives heat is when the firebox is hot enough to trip the limit switch. Then it cycles on/off until a roaring fire is hot enough to keep the plenum fan running continues. I did get used to it since it does what its suppose to do. Its not easy to turn down the furnace for a lower heat output. The fan runs with a hot fire, shut it down, the fan stops and cycles which is only throwing heat occasionally. So when the fan isnt running, the heat is just going up the chimney.

I will rifle thru the above suggestions and do my homework. Its a busy time at work now which leaves me with little free time. I have no real preference in which stove to choose. I'd like to stick with higher efficiency unit, I'm just not up to speed on cat or hybrid stoves, but they look interesting. Kuma caught my eye with 80% efficiency, but I'm not sure of their price. I dont want to break the bank and I know there are a lot of options under 5k and less. Something with a little larger or more efficient firebox layout than my 13 ncl would be nice. I dont have much to complain about my 13, its a great little lifesaver despite its smallish size.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
99,011
South Puget Sound, WA
Agreed. Daily lighting of the fire gets old quickly. FWIW, the 13NC is not tiny, like a small Morso or Jotul. It's a medium-sized stove.